Magnus Abe has accused supporters of Rotimi Amaechi of being on the loose in Rivers State and for masterminding the Sunday attack against party members belonging to rival factions of the party in Buguma City.
Abe in a statement said the attack was a carryover of the violence the same group started in the state in 2015 first against Nyesom Wike and his supporters when the governor was minister of state for education.
Lamenting that Amaechi and his followers were using federal forces with reckless abandon, Abe in the statement alleged that youths led by an associate of Hon Ojukaye Amachree, an acolyte of the Minister of Transportation, Rt. Hon. Rotimi Amaechi invaded the venue of a peaceful gathering of APC members in Buguma City with dangerous weapons, inflicting serious injuries on several persons including women.
The statement reads in parts: “The Rivers State version of Federal might was yesterday visited on Hon. Ben Horsfall and some members of the APC in Buguma City. This is ominous beginning to the new year in Rivers State and a clear sign of what is ahead for Rivers People.
“Nigerians will do well to remember that it was the same Hon. Ben Horsfall who risked life and limb and physically served the court papers of the now-famous case of Amaechi Vs. INEC on the then sitting Governor of Rivers State, Sir Celestine Omehia.
“It was Hon. Ben Horsfall's courage and his conviction to disagree with the powers that be at that time, that made the case possible. Ben Horsfall was never assaulted, attacked, or brutalized for his open confrontation with then Governor Omehia.
“Today, for daring to hold a different view from Amaechi, but for the grace of God, Hon Ben Horsfall, himself and several others could have died.
“Nigerians will do well to remember that the political violence that engulfed Rivers State and claimed so many lives before the 2015 elections actually started with attacks on supporters of the Grassroots Democratic Initiative, then led by the Minister of State for Education, Barrister Nyesom Wike.
“Nigerians will also recollect that the first place the GDI peacefully held a rally in Rivers State was in Gokana Local Government Area (my home local government), because I flatly refused despite orders from above to allow violence on Rivers people of any political persuasion.
“When the response to violence came, the originators and original sponsors were the ones now holding rallies and demonstrations to call attention to escalating violence in Rivers State.
“At the end of the day, the recourse to violence did not alter the result of the contest.
We are treading the same path once again, from the violence visited on party members at Old Party Secretariat, to attack on the State Judiciary, the attack on the State Party Secretariat at Waterlines Junction, and yesterday's attack on Rivers people in Asari Toru Local Government Area; the temptation and the belief of the Minister and his supporters that violence offers a short cut to the resolution of the situation in the party has become evident.
“I have been restrained in my reactions, in the belief that we cannot all lose our heads at the same time, but the lack of effective response to these issues by the security agencies, is leading these criminals and their sponsors to the conclusion that they are above the law, and now becoming emboldened and unrestrained”.
He noted that security agents did not bother with the supporters of the minister who were on the loose in the State.
“When the security agencies allow political crime to reign unchallenged, they should not be surprised when violent crime ravages the society; for these politically protected, and privileged criminals are the same ones tormenting our society today because they can act with impunity and are being protected for their political roles. A stitch in time they say saves nine”.